Recently, I intereviewed my friend and colleague, and capital campaign expert, Gail Perry. Capital campaigns are one of Gail’s many areas of expertise. Join us for this Ask the Fundraising Expert episode in which we discuss how an organization can prepare for a capital campaign.
Interview Highlights (Transcript)
Here is an abbreviated transcript of the video featuring the most important tips. Be sure to watch the full video to get all the juicy details.
A BIG Vision is Essential for a Capital Campaign
AE: If an organization is toying with the idea of a campaign, how do they know when they’re ready?
GP: There are a number of factors that an organization needs to have in place in order to have a campaign. First is a big vision — that really excites people. Second is a case with numbers (budget).
Watch the full interview to hear Gail discuss what goes into a BIG vision.
Feasibility Studies — The Good and The Bad
AE: What do you think about feasibility studies and what is a feasibility study?
GP: A feasibility study is the hiring of a consultant to interview a set of potential donors to your campaign. We ask them what they think of the organization and the project. The good thing about a feasibility study is you’ve got a neutral observer (the consultant) who the donors can be frank with.
AE: Right. They may not tell you that they don’t like the mission or vision.
GP: When a feasibility study comes back and says you’re not ready, it means that your donors aren’t excited enough about your project or your organization.
AE: A good feasibility study will tell you what you need to do to prepare for a campaign.
Watch the full interview for ways an organization can handle a feasibility study internally, and learn why Gail has mixed feelings on feasibility studies.
On Visiting Major Donors
GP: What I find is that the idea of visiting your major donors is confusing to many fundraisers and nonprofits.
AE: Yes, let’s talk about that… how can organizations and individuals get more comfortable with visiting their major donors?
GP: When an organization wants to call on a major donor, there are 3 objectives:
- Long-term relationship – no quick sell.
- Donor hot buttons.
- Leave visit with next step.
Watch the full interview for more on visiting with major donors.
Is Your Nonprofit Ready for a Pre-Campaign?
AE: Let’s talk more about the pre-campaign. How does an organization know if they’re ready?
GP: There’s a very straight forward way to develop a prospect list. Start pulling together your data and your prospect list will evolve over time. It’s very important to rate prospects based on their financial capacity and their interest.
Watch the full interview for details on developing a prospect list and the pre-campaign.
Tips for Preparing Your Board
AE: Let’s jump to board members. What are your favorite tips?
GP: They need to understand campaign strategy. They need be willing to support the project. I’m big on actions for board members. We want board members to open doors to prospects.
Watch the full interview for specifics on preparing your nonprofit board.
More Great Advice from Gail Perry
Are you considering a capital campaign? What your biggest concerns? Gail and I want to hear from you. Let us know what in the comments.